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Category: Black Collar Crime

UPDATED: Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Leader Mark Cuprik Pleads Guilty to Sex Crime Charges

mark cuprick

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In October 2021, Mark Cuprik, a youth leader at Victory Christian Center in Boardman, Ohio, was accused of sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, and importuning.

WFMJ-21 reported at that time:

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a former local church youth group leader who is the subject of an eight-count indictment accusing him of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Mark Cuprik, 22, allegedly drove to Beaver Township Memorial Park with the girl last March.

According to police, Cuprik was a friend of the girl’s family, as well as a youth group leader at Victory Christian Center.

Police say a family member began chasing Cuprik’s car.  The chase involved high rates of speed and a disregard for traffic control devices, according to the report.

Cuprik eventually dropped the teen back off at the park and she was reunited with family members.

….

Following an investigation into social media accounts, the grand jury indicted Cuprik on charges of Sexual Battery, Unlawful Sexual Conduct With a Minor, Pandering Sexually Oriented Matter Involving a Minor,  Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles, and Importuning.

According to the indictment Cuprik engaged in sexual conduct with the teen from late February through late March.

Investigators say Cuprik also possessed material showing a minor engaging in sexual activity.

Victory Christian Center released the following statement:

Any abuse, especially that of a minor is abhorrent and should never be tolerated. We are incredibly grieved in regards to the allegations and indictments of of a former youth leader at our Boardman campus. Our Board of Directors are aware of the matter and cooperating with the appropriate authorities. The accused leader was removed immediately from any and all involvement with in the church when the allegations first surfaced under previous leadership of VCC in January of 2020.

When current VCC leadership learned more details about the matter, a statement was read to the Boardman Campus providing transparency and condemning the actions of the former youth leader. VCC leadership also made extra efforts to stay in close touch with the victim’s family, providing support and offering professional counseling to them, offering to pay for all such expenses.

Given that this is now an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further.

Cuprik’s father may be the pastor of the Boardman campus.

On December 20, 2021, Cuprik pleaded guilty to charges of sexual battery, a third-degree felony; two counts of pandering sexual material involving a minor, a fourth-degree felony; two counts of disseminating harmful matter to a juvenile, a fifth-degree felony, and sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor.

WKBN-27 reports:

A former youth pastor pleaded guilty to sex charges today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Mark Cuprik, 22, entered his pleas before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum to charges of sexual battery, a third degree felony; two counts of pandering sexual material involving a minor, a fourth degree felony; two counts of disseminating harmful matter to a juvenile, a fifth degree felony and sexual imposition, a third degree misdemeanor.

Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of four years in prison. Defense attorneys are expected to argue for less.

Ron Yarwood, Cuprik’s attorney, said the plea agreement came after “extensive” negotiations.

Cuprik, a former youth pastor at the Boardman Campus of Victory Christian Center, remains free on bond until his Feb. 7 sentencing.

Assistant Prosecutor Caitlyn Andrews said Cuprik had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl who was a church member.

Andrews also said the pandering and disseminating charges deal with the person Cuprik had the relationship with and her sister.

The investigation began in March after Cuprik was involved in a chase with Beaver Township police after he was confronted by the family of the victim.

The indictment in the case alleges illegal activity from 2017-2020.

The church has said in earlier statements that it removed Cuprik from his post in January after allegations of misconduct first surfaced and they have been cooperating with authorities ever since.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Presbyterian Youth Pastor Ronnie Barron Charged With Sex Crimes

ronnie barron

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Ron “Ronnie” Barron, a youth pastor at Loris First Presbyterian Church in Loris, South Carolina, and a volunteer baseball coach at the local high school, stands accused of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual battery with a 17-year-old student from Loris High School.

WMBF reports:

A Loris High School coach was arrested on Monday morning after he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Ronnie Barron Jr. is charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual battery with a student.

Loris Police Chief Gary Buley says this whole investigation started after a parent found some disturbing images on their child’s phone and brought that phone to the police department.

“That’s how it all started,” said Buley. “The parent of the victim came in after observing the juvenile’s phone and noticing some activity that shouldn’t be going on.”

After an investigation, information was obtained and arrest warrants were issued for Barron.

Horry County Schools said the suspected relationship may have originated outside of school.

The school district added that Baroon was a volunteer baseball coach at Loris High School and has been a volunteer coach in the district since December 2020.

As of November 4, 2021, he is no longer affiliated with Horry County Schools, according to the district.

WMBF News also discovered that Barron was a youth director at the First Presbyterian Church in Loris. The church sent WMBF News a statement on Barron and the investigation:

“We have been made aware of the recent allegations of inappropriate conduct by our former youth director and have reported them to the appropriate authorities. The church leadership immediately accepted his resignation. We are cooperating in their investigation to the best of our ability. Given that this is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further. We would welcome you to join us in prayer for all the involved individuals.”

“Nothing came out from the church,” said Buley. “It was definitely solo with the victim, that we’ve seen so far.”

After a month-long investigation, Loris Police arrested Ron Barron and charged him with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, which carries up to ten years in jail.

He is also charged with sexual battery with a student.

Barron’s church bio states:

We are pleased to have Mr. Ron Barron join the staff and congregation of Loris First Presbyterian Church. Ron comes to us from Epiphany Lutheran Church in Conyers, Georgia where he served as the Director of Youth and Family Ministry. During his time there, Ron sought to encourage a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through teaching Sunday School, hosting devotion times, and engaging the youth in service projects, fundraisers and team building events. He also involved himself in the community and coached baseball for Salem High School and the Conyers American Legion.

Ron brings to Loris a passion and energy to serve and follow Jesus Christ through ministry to the youth of Loris First Presbyterian and the community. As Youth Director for LFPC, Ron will be involved in all aspects of youth ministry from kindergarten age through young adult. Ron’s view of ministry as relational will lead to many group projects and team events as he encourages young people to explore their role as disciples and future church leaders. This teaching for discipleship and leadership involves disciplined scripture study but also an active faith demonstrated in evangelism, missions, and random acts of kindness.

When he is not working, Ron can be found fishing or enjoying the great outdoors with his sons **** and *****, and daughter, *****.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Presbyterian Music Director William Broyles Murders Wife and Two Children

william broyles

Willian Broyles, a music director at Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Florida, allegedly murdered his wife, daughter, and one of his sons.

The Florid Times-Union reports:

Saying Wednesday morning’s massacre at a Callahan home “doesn’t make sense,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced the arrest of William Conway Broyles in the deaths of his wife and two grown children.

Leeper said the 57-year-old suspect called 911 about 7:15 a.m. to notify deputies of what had just occurred at his Deer Run Road home in the Spring Lake Estates community.

“The suspect was lying down in the driveway unarmed, waiting on them,” the sheriff said. “… Later on, he told us that he shot each victim multiple times just to make sure they didn’t suffer.”

His wife, Candace Lynn Broyles, 57, was found dead in the living room. Daughter Cara Lynn Broyles, 27, was shot dead in her bedroom as she was waking up. Son Aaron Christopher Broyles, 28, was killed in his bedroom after his door was broken in, Leeper said.

“He then went back to get another gun, came back and shot his son again,” the sheriff said.

….

“It doesn’t make sense when you look at the whole circumstance of what we believe happened,” Leeper said. “It’s just a senseless act. When he was asked why he just didn’t shoot himself, he said he was too scared to do that, which is crazy.”

The Christian Post adds:

Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church did not immediately respond to calls for comment from The Christian Post on Friday. In a statement on its website, the church urged prayers for the Broyles family. It is unclear where the minister’s other son, Evan Broyles, was at the time of the murders.

“It is with tremendous sadness that I report to you that this Wednesday morning Bill Broyles, our director of music, confessed to shooting his wife and two of his children,” a statement from Pastor Jonathan T. Swanson said.

Leeper said there is no history of any domestic or anger issues in the past with the family.

“Bill has been part of our church staff for 23 years, and this was completely out of character. We mourn this devastating loss to the church, Bill’s remaining family, and the larger community. We ask that you would hold the members of the Broyles family, our church family, and Bill himself in your prayers regarding this tragedy.”

At a virtual bond hearing Thursday, Broyles appeared barefoot and was dressed in a safety smock to prevent suicide attempts. Broyles was charged with three counts of second-degree murder. A judge also denied him bond and ordered him to appear in court again on Dec. 21.

According to his church, Broyles is a trained industrial engineer who, prior to the murders, “worked in the Aerospace and Medical Device industries for many years.”

He was driven by a passion for music as well, and, according to the church, “believes that music was created by God for His Glory and that the church stands as a witness to the grace and lordship of Jesus when our music glorifies Him in worship and life.”

In an archived page on the church’s website, Broyles was further described as: “[H]appily married for 30 years to Candace and they have three children, sons Evan and Aaron and daughter Cara, along [with] three crazy Corgi pups. In his free time, Bill enjoys all types of outdoor activities, reworking older cars, and home and garden projects.”

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: United Methodist Youth Minister Timothy Urban Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For Sexual Assault

timothy urban

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2018, Timothy Urban, a youth minister at First United Methodist Church in Van Alstyne, Texas, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. In 2019, Urban pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

KWTX-10 reported at the time:

A former Van Alstyne youth minister accused of having a sexual relationship with a teen girl pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in Grayson County District Court.

Timothy Urban, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual performance with a child.

Two additional counts of each crime were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Urban was sentenced to 12 years in prison and will have to register as a sex offender.

He will be eligible for parole after six years.

Urban was a youth minister at First United Methodist Church of Van Alstyne.

He was arrested last summer after a lengthy investigation between Van Alstyne Police and the Texas Rangers.

A criminal complaint from the Texas Rangers alleges that Urban began flirting with a 16-year-old girl in the summer of 2015.

It says the flirting escalated to inappropriate touching and oral sex, and the sexual encounters usually took place in the church or in a vehicle.

The last reported encounter allegedly happened in April of 2016.

The complaint says the victim went to Van Alstyne Police in July and turned over hundreds of videos, photos and text messages to officers.

In August during an interview, investigators told her to text Urban.

She did, saying she felt disturbed about their relationship.

The complaint states Urban responded, saying he felt absolutely horrible and that he never meant to hurt the teen.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Kevin Lonergan Convicted of Indecent Sexual Assault

father kevin lonergan

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2018, Kevin Lonergan, a priest at Saint Francis of Assisi Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was charged with indecent assault and corruption of minors. Longerhan later pleaded guilty was sentenced to 1-2 years in prison.

In 2021, Penn Live reported:

A Roman Catholic priest who groped a teenage girl and sent her nude photos and a video of himself wasn’t punished too harshly with a 1- to 2-year prison sentence, a state Superior Court panel has decided.

That ruling, outlined in an opinion by Judge Megan King, comes little more than a year after Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos told Father Kevin Lonergan, “You have made families feel that church is no longer a safe place.”

King rejected Lonergan’s contention that his punishment, the maximum jail term allowable on his guilty plea to an indecent assault charge, was “manifestly excessive and unreasonable.”

Lonergan, now 32, fondled the 17-year-old girl’s buttocks in February 2018 while serving at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church in Allentown. Before that, he sent the girl multiple inappropriate messages and nude photos of himself and a video that showed him masturbating in a shower, investigators said.

The girl told another priest about the incidents several months later and the diocese immediately suspended Lonergan from public ministry.

When he pleaded guilty in the case, Lonergan had no deal with prosecutors concerning his punishment, King noted.

Lonergan argued on appeal that the sentence Dantos imposed was far greater than probation officials recommended. He claimed as well that the county judge considered improper factors, including that he had been transferred to Saint Francis after a report that he had molested another teen girl in another county.

The Allentown diocese said Lonergan was transferred in 2016 only after a children and youth services investigation of that other allegation determined the report was unfounded. Diocese officials said they had promptly reported the earlier allegation to authorities.

In backing the prison sentence Dantos imposed, King found the county judge appropriately focused on the fact that the victim was “particularly vulnerable” because she was a parishioner at the Allentown church and he was a priest, a figure who was supposed to represent religious authority.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Robert Woodrum Accused of Raping Two Minors

pastor robert woodrum

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Robert Woodrum, former pastor of Oakfield Baptist Church (affiliated with the American Baptist Convention) in Corning, Ohio stands accused of raping two minor girls (one of whom is related to him).

The Perry County Tribune reports:

When the former pastor of a Perry County church was sued by his adult granddaughter for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a child, he flatly denied the charge and suggested the lawsuit was just part of an attempt to extort money from him.

Earlier this month, however, a Perry County grand jury issued an indictment against 71-year-old Robert A. Woodrum, charging him with 24 counts of first-degree felony rape involving two underage victims.

The indictment, filed Nov. 24 in Perry County Common Pleas Court, indicates that the two victims were both under the age of 13 when the alleged crimes occurred. The victims are designated in the indictment only by initials, ALK and MRF.

There are 12 charges relating to each of the two victims, and in each case the rapes are alleged to have taken place during the summer months – in June, July and August of 2002 through 2005 for ALK, and June, July and August of 2003 through 2006 for MRF.

The indictment indicates that ALK was under 10 years old throughout the period of the alleged sex assaults in that case, and that MRF was under 10 during the alleged assaults that took place prior to 2004.

In July a woman identifying herself as Woodrum’s granddaughter, but using the pseudonym “Jane Doe,” filed a lawsuit against him in Perry County Common Pleas Court. The complaint said that the plaintiff was now a Marion County resident under 30 years old. It alleged that Woodrum had engaged in sexual conduct with her from the time she was 9 until she turned 13.

The woman claimed that while she was growing up, “particularly in the summers,” she would “regularly spend the night with her maternal grandparents.” She alleged that during these visits, her grandfather engaged in sexual conduct with her, in the form of inappropriate touching, “dozens of times.” The type of activity she describes in the suit would qualify as rape under Ohio law because of the age of the alleged victim.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff’s attorneys indicated that the woman had also filed a complaint with the Perry County Sheriff’s Office about the alleged sexual assaults. At that time The Perry County Tribune contacted Perry County Prosecutor Joseph A. Flautt, who confirmed that his office been informed of the woman’s complaint, and was investigating

Woodrum, a former pastor of Oakfield Baptist Church, reportedly lived in Crooksville until June 2021, when he moved to Zanesville. In late July he answered the lawsuit and countersued the plaintiff for defamation.

In his answer and countersuit Woodrum denied “that he has ever engaged in sexual conduct with any person under the age of 13.” He accused his granddaughter of filing a frivolous lawsuit “brought merely to harass (him) and extort money.” He claimed that before the suit was filed, the law firm representing the woman had sent him successive letters, each “requesting a large confidential settlement under threat of litigation.”

Woodrum also asked the court to either dismiss the woman’s complaint, or require her to proceed under her real name. “Plaintiff should not be permitted to proceed in this action under a pseudonym,” his attorneys argued in a motion. “Permitting plaintiff to proceed anonymously in this action while forcing defendant to face the onslaught of public humiliation and scorn is unjust and inequitable.”

In October, however, Common Pleas Judge Tina M. Boyer ruled in the woman’s favor, saying that she will not dismiss her suit, and will allow her to continue to be identified in court records as Jane Doe.

Following Woodrum’s indictment, a nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest.

I pastored near Oakfield Baptist Church from 1983-1994.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

UPDATED: Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor David Rowan Accused of Raping Teen Girls Commits Suicide

pastor david rowan

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

2018

David Rowan, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Milton, Florida, stands accused of raping two teen girls.

ABC-2 reports:

A high-profile church pastor was charged with sexually assaulting two young sisters while he was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for a religious conference.

Florida pastor David Rowan was arrested there Tuesday. He’s was indicted on rape, unlawful sexual contact and sexual battery by an authority figure.

The arrest stemmed from an alleged incident here in Middle Tennessee back in 2014. Rowan was a guest speaker at a religious convention in Murfreesboro.

Sex crimes detectives said he convinced the parents of two girls to let him take them to lunch. The family was seeking spiritual guidance from Rowan and trusted him.

Police said he brought the 14 and 15-year-old sisters to a local hotel where he took advantage of the situation and molested them.

Rowan is a well-known pastor in Milton, Florida, not far from Pensacola.

Rowan’s church bio page states:

The atmosphere in my childhood home was semi religious, leading to my philosophy by the time of my Navy enlistment in 1973 that all paths led to God—though because of my sins, I felt I could not go to heaven

My high school sweetheart and I were married in 1975, and by 1980 deteriorating circumstances in our home motivated us to take our two baby daughters and begin attending church.

Following Bible principles, our marriage improved, and I became a better man. My pastor told me that in light of these changes, coupled with the fact that I had gone forward in a church service as a nine year old boy, I must be saved. Further Bible study and application of the truths I learned brought me so much enjoyment that I began sharing these things with others.

Finally, in the fall of 1981, I enrolled in Tennessee Temple University to pursue pastoral studies and learned more wonderful truths, the two most notable of those being who Jesus really is and His wonderful gift of salvation. (Neither as a nine year old boy nor as a 25 year old man had I known these truths, but I concluded that God knew I would learn them later in life, so He went ahead and saved me when I was nine.)

After finishing my studies at Tennessee Temple University in 1985, I began my first pastorate, still clinging to that “nine-year-old” profession (whatever that was).

(During this time, two Bible passages kept bothering me: Matthew 7:21-23 in which the Lord disclaims certain individuals performing works in His name, and Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” “What did I believe when I said I believed?” was the recurring question haunting my mind.)

Through the Scriptures, God revealed to me that I was a lost sinner. He then used them further to give me additional knowledge I desperately needed and opened my understanding to the point that I rested in the finished work of Christ for mankind’s redemption.

After 10 years of church and ministry, I was truly “born again” and have never doubted or questioned the sufficiency of the suffering of Christ Jesus on my behalf.

Like Apollos in Acts 18, my “calling” is to keep preaching that Jesus is the Christ who died and paid for the sins of the whole world.

2021

Rowan’s case eventually went to trial. While awaiting the jury’s verdict, Rowan drove to a parking garage in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and killed himself.

ABC-3 reports:

A Milton pastor who was on trial this week for multiple sex crimes against two teenage girls was found dead in a parking garage Thursday in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, according to the Murfreesboro Police Department.

David Rowan, 66, appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the preliminary investigation.

Murfreesboro PD responded to the Rutherford County Justice Center Parking Garage on 223 Maple Street at around 11:43 a.m. where they found Rowan dead from a single gunshot wound.

Rowan was awaiting a jury’s verdict regarding his charges for multiple sex crimes involving two teenage girls in 2014.

Rowan was arrested by Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 16, 2018.

A report from the MPD in 2017 states that two teenage sisters were victimized in 2014. They said Rowan was the suspect involved.

Rowan was booked into Santa Rosa County Jail on Feb 16, 2018 and was held on no bond. (why was he out of jail?)

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Vineyard Pastor Nathan Rieger Released From Prison After Six Months

pastor nathan rieger

In August 2018, Nathan Rieger, pastor of Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, was arrested and charged by California police with trying to set up a meeting to have sex with a minor.

The CBC reported at the time:

Arrest records of the Arroyo Grande Police Department say Nathan George Rieger, 53, was arrested on Aug. 10. He was charged with arranging to meet with a minor for a sexual act and meeting with a minor for a sexual act.

….

The Arroyo Grande Police Department first began investigating Rieger on Aug. 8.

“There’s a whole network of people that are looking to have sex with minors and we have a detective bureau that is designated to have conversations with these people that are seeking to have sex with minors,” said Cmdr. Shawn Cosgrove with the Arroyo Grande Police Department.

Officers created an avatar of a 15-year-old girl, which they used to communicate with Rieger, Cosgrove said.

Rieger has worked as a pastor for the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church on Main Street. The church released a statement Tuesday saying Rieger, who worked there for 19 years, had resigned his position. His departure and criminal charges were announced at a church service on Sunday.

Rieger was later found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison. In December 2019, he was released from prison after serving six months. The United States later deported him back to Canada.

The CBC reported in 2020:

A former pastor from Winnipeg convicted of trying to arrange to meet a child for sex in California is no longer in prison.

Nathan Rieger was sentenced to two years in prison in California in February 2019. A jury had found him guilty in December 2018 after a week-long trial. 

A spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said he was released on Dec. 30 to community supervision in Fresno County.

His early release came after he earned credit for rehabilitative programs and for the time he had already spent in custody before sentencing.

….

David Ruiz, a division director with the Fresno County Probation Department, said Rieger never physically reported to them, but did call the office from a private number on Monday. Ruiz said they are still trying to determine his whereabouts.

The county department verified Tuesday morning that Rieger was deported back to Canada last week through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Ruiz.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Ricky Torcise Accused of Sexually Molesting Teen Boy

ricky torcise

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Ricky Torcise, a youth pastor at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, Florida, stands accused of sexually molesting a 17-year-old male church teenager.

Channel 10 reports:

Detectives fear Rick Torcise, of the Redlands, could have groomed and abused other teenagers. A 17-year-old boy reported he met him as a church youth leader, Torcise gave him a job, groomed him for months, and sexually abused him on Oct. 16.

Torcise, 67, a well-known entrepreneur, is a title trustee of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, Inc., and a youth leader there. He was also the manager of Florida Legends Baseball.

“This is a person that the community trusts, this is a person that parents trust to guide their children,” said Detective Argemis Colome, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department. “We’re asking anybody that may have had any interaction with this individual … this is the time to give us a call.”

Attorney John Priovolos is representing the teenage boy who answered detectives’ questions about Torcise’s abuse. Priovolos said sexual predators target the vulnerable and sometimes have enablers.

“We believe that there may be other victims, and if so, they must know that they are not alone,” Priovolos said in a longer statement on Thursday.

Channel 4 adds:

According to Miami-Dade Police investigators, 67-year-old Ricky Torcise is a youth leader at the church where the 17-year-old victim attends in Homestead. Torcise is also his employer, according to the arrest report.

The crime reportedly happened at Torcise’s home in Southwest Miami-Dade.

The teenage victim stated that he was fondled multiple times by Torcise for a period of four months. He also told police the fondling escalated to sex acts, according to the report.

….

In Bond court, Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer ordered Torcise to have no contact with the victim.

“That is no contact with the child, either directly or indirectly or in person, in writing, by telephone or through 3rd parties and no contact with the victim through social media or electronic means. You must stay at least 500 feet away from the victim’s home and do not engage in any criminal activity and do no possess or use any drugs. Do not use of possess a gun or firearm.”

Glazer added another requirement.

“No contact with any child under the age of 18 and with regard to any contact with any children who may be yours you are to have no unsupervised contact with them.”

Torcise was arrested earlier this week and charged with a felony count of sexual act with a child.

The Miami Herald adds:

A South Dade businessman and elder leader at a Homestead church has been arrested on allegations he molested an underage teen boy. Rick Torcise, 67, whose family has long been prominent in the Homestead area, was charged this week with engaging in a sexual act with a child. State records list him as a trustee for New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead. According to an arrest report, the 17-year-old victim told police that Torcise was a leader of the church’s youth group, and fondled him on multiple occasions between June and October. The report said that on Oct. 16, Torcise performed a sex act on the teen and asked that the teen do likewise. The teen said he complied “out of fear,” the report said.

Torcise’s charge, which is punishable by life in prison, does not normally allow for an automatic bond. Still, for reasons that weren’t immediately clear, Torscise was allowed to post a $10,000 bond. He left a Miami-Dade jail late Thursday night.

….

John Priovolos, an attorney for the victim and his family, said Torcise has been a longtime youth leader who leads Bible studies and church trips, primarily with young teenage boys. The victim was one of various boys who’d been hired to work on Torcise’s South Miami-Dade farm, Priovolos said. “People like Torcise prey on the vulnerable. This time, he got more than he bargained for. My client was not too weak. He is strong, and I am proud to represent him,” Priovolos said. “We will not stop until Torcise and anyone who was aware of his despicable conduct is brought to justice. We believe that there may be other victims, and if so, they must know that they are not alone.

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Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser